Blackmagic Design’s Production Camera 4K is the company’s first 4K Cinema camera, and probably their most boring named product. Sure, these guys do some fantastic stuff with their Blackmagic Cinema 2K camera, but the 4K camera is the product that the majority of the industry has been salivating over since its announcement last year. Blackmagic originally pegged the release of this camera at $4,000 USD and in 4Q 2013, however people saw 2013 come and go without any announcements about the 4K Blackmagic Production Camera. Then, today, we got news of the announcement of the camera’s availability with one adjustment, price.
Blackmagic Design decided that they were going to drop the price of this camera to $3,000 USD, down $1,000 from the originally posted price of $4,000. This $1,000 reduction is likely to significantly increase Blackmagic Design’s audience for this camera, as well as appease those that were frustrated with the company’s lack of delivery. While the company offers little explanation for the delay or price drop beyond the CEO Grant Petty saying, ?As with all of our products, we work hard in production to reduce costs so we can pass along the savings, even to our first Blackmagic Production Camera 4K customers. The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is a perfect companion for ATEM Production 4K switchers and we hope the new low price will help more customers to expand their Ultra HD live production set ups with even more camera angles!? I believe that they sort of went hand in hand, meaning that the delay enabled them to further reduce their costs and sell the camera at a much more affordable price range.
The $4,000 pricetag already had a lot of people pretty happy with the camera since the cheapest 4K camera in 2013 was the Sony Handycam, which had a fixed lens and sold for $4,500. At $3,000 the Blackmagic 4K camera becomes much more attractive not just because of price, but also because it allows you to use any EF mount lens, which means that you can use Canon’s cinema grade lenses or any EF mount that you like. Sure, the Sony Handicam 4K does 60 FPS 4K video, but that camera is more sports and highspeed motion focused while the Blackmagic is squarely focused on cinema production and I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing a lot of indie films and possibly even full-bore big budget productions using them as well. The fact that they store data on SSDs also makes recording and moving footage quickly from the camera to a computer incredibly easy and fast.
It will be interesting to see what Blackmagic ends up showing at NAB now that they’ve finally released the 4K camera. I had a lot of conversations with various film makers and the truth was that Blackmagic Design had to release this camera before NAB, otherwise they were going to be in for a world of ridicule. By having done this, and dropping the price by 25%, they have probably gained a lot of fans and a lot more loyal followers as well. It will be really interesting to see how this camera ends up getting integrated into the film industry like the 2K camera. It will also be interesting to see if this price drop will affect Panasonic’s success with their, quietly announced, GH3 4K MFT camera which still has yet to announce a price but will likely go for about $1,500.